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Rajasthan’s Kota district administration struggles rein in spike in seasonal diseases

Dengue and swine flu have claimed a number of lives in Rajasthan’s Kota in the last two years.

jaipur Updated: Oct 15, 2017 20:35 IST
Aabshar H Quazi
Aabshar H Quazi
Hindustan Times
Rajasthan news,Dengue,swine flu
There is a rush of dengue patients at the MBS hospital, the biggest government-run hospital in the Kota division(Representative picture/AFP Photo.)

It seems the Kota district authorities have not learnt any lesson from the past when it comes to checking seasonal diseases in the district.

Dengue and swine flu have claimed a number of lives in Kota in the last two years. This year, 282 patients have tested positive for swine flu, including 23, who died of the disease, according to official records of the chief medical and health office. More than 809 patients tested positive for dengue during the same period. Two of them died.

Although the number of deaths from dengue could be a dozen times more, but the health department takes into account only those deaths, which are diagnosed through Elisa (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test and not through ‘card’ test. The health department considers that ‘card’ test is fallible.

Besides, 17 people have tested positive for scrub typhus disease in the district. Of them, four patients have been reported dead, but the official records do not reflect any death from the disease this year.

After assuming alarming proportions in August and September, the number of swine flu cases has shown a declining trend in Kota, but dengue continues to haunt the district people. There is a rush of dengue patients at the MBS hospital, the biggest government hospital in the Kota division. Owing to shortage of beds at the hospital, the patients are being accommodated on benches. Seven patients tested positive for dengue on Monday only.

Sonu Meena, a dengue patient from Shivpura basti in Kota, who just recovered from dengue and was taking care of his mother ailing from the disease at the hospital, said, “I have never seen fogging or anti-larval activity in our area. After the rains, mosquitoes breed on stagnant drain water and empty plots and spread dengue,” he said.

While the Kota Municipal Corporation is responsible for the city upkeep, it is the duty of the medical and health department to take care of the people’s health. When asked why there is no control over dengue in the last couple of years, KMC deputy commissioner Rajesh Daga said, “There are rocky strata in large part of Kota over which water stagnates (providing a breeding ground for the mosquitoes).” Besides, empty residential plots and coolers also provide breeding grounds for the mosquitoes, he added. He said hoardings are being erected in the city to create public awareness on checking dengue.

When asked what efforts were being made by the health department to check the seasonal diseases, Kota chief medical and health officer Dr RK Lavania said, “While a door-to-door survey have been carried out for carrying out an extensive anti-larval activity and identifying patients of seasonal diseases, regular fogging is being conducted through 21 fogging machines every day.”

The Congress has found an opportunity to criticise the government agencies over the issue. “Government agencies should have worked pro-actively to check seasonal diseases in Kota, which have turned into an epidemic in Kota. Efforts should be made on war footing to control the menace,” said Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary Pankaj Mehta.

Meanwhile, Kota district collector Rohit Gupta on Tuesday took a meeting of the government departments and instructed the UIT and KMC officials to clear stagnated water from the residential plots. He also instructed the health department officials to impart training to NGO workers for carrying out anti-larval activity in the district.

First Published: Oct 15, 2017 20:35 IST